Sunday, May 26, 2013

how running marathons saves lives...

it never occurred to me that the title of my blog might sound a little presumptuous until my cousin EJ told me that she was proud of me for saving lives. at that moment i put out some minor efforts to clarify that in fact it won't be me saving any lives.

it will be the researchers and doctors who are able to further their work with the money raised that will save lives. it will be the LLS who provides the necessary support -- emotional, psychological and financial -- to the patients and their family that will save lives. it will be the generosity of you, of family and friends and complete strangers who are moved to contribute to this cause that will save lives. me running a marathon won't save any lives.

coming back to the running of marathons though... i know that i am fortunate in that i am healthy. physically, i am capable of running a marathon. or, i will be with the help of the Team In Training coaches and training program. it's going to be hard. it's going to hurt. i'm going to struggle.

but it is nothing compared to the struggles of someone who is undergoing treatment for cancer. it is nothing compared to fighting for my life. because in the end, if i am unable to cross the finish line at 42.2 kms (26.2 miles)... i will have another chance to reach that goal. i will train harder next time, and eventually i will succeed.

me running a marathon won't save any lives. in the end, my real contribution is made by asking you to make a donation. 

you may not know anyone who suffers from a blood cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma... but i am willing to bet that you know someone who has had cancer. and if you're lucky enough that you don't... chances are that you will at some point in your lifetime.

Just remember, if there is progress made in research for any
cancer it will help all cancer research.

so i am asking. that's how i am going to help to save lives.

running companions.... some of us need them.

I am not the kind of runner that just LOVES running. I like running. I like how I feel after I've completed a good run. I like how it clears my head. I like how when I'm running regularly I feel fit and strong. But, sometimes when I am on a set training schedule, the largest obstacle to lacing up the shoes and getting out there is that fact that it can get lonely.

Some days I really enjoy the solitude. But some days I just need a friend.

The last time I trained with the team, I had only one dog. And while she's more than happy to come out for a 5 mile hike, she's not a runner. Physically, she's not designed for distance. And like me, she suffers when it is hot and humid. She's an ambler, a "let's stop and sniff, sit and watch the other runners/hikers, have a snack, cool down..." kind of dog.

We now have two dogs. The second was bred to chase bears and boars. Meaning... he can go far and he can go fast. And he can go for days. The first half mile can be a bit choppy, until he gets into the groove of running. He's accustomed to the stop and sniff, and pee on every other tree pace of our daily walks. But once he gets going, he's a great companion.

As long as there are no children on the trail.

Whatever Remsen's story before he came to us, it was not happy, and children are a source of deep and immediate fear for him.

Last night was our first trail run together in quite some time (as I have not been running). We went to a small local park that includes soccer fields at each end, and a 1 mile loop of wooded trail in the centre. First loop was pretty smooth. Second loop we came across a family with 5 children under the age of 10, lots of laughing and talk and running and swinging of sticks... and Remsen panicked.

We shot off the trail and into the woods at high speed, and kept going for about a quarter mile before he calmed down enough to realise they weren't following us.

Fear can do that to dog. Fear can do that to a person too... but sometimes changing course, for whatever reason, can take us to some pretty great places.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Getting back to it...

It's been quite some time since I posted here, but that is primarily because it has been quite some time since I have been training with the Team. After five seasons, I was a little burnt out on the fundraising and needed a break.

That is not to say that I've not been running... I've completed quite a few more half marathons on my own. But, it's time to get back to the Team, back to the mission of LLS, and back to a more consistent and planned training schedule. Also... back to running full marathons.

As usual, my timing is impeccable. I swore up and down that I would never again train for an autumn race in Virginia. The heat and humidity in July through September saps me of energy for everyday living, never mind getting up early to run 18 miles. But... it's time.

A few weeks ago an old friend from university got back in touch with me. The last time we corresponded was more than a year ago, shortly after she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She (understandably) fell off the map for a while, and it was so great to hear from her and learn she is doing well.  That e-mail was the push that I needed to get me to lace up the shoes and log some long miles, in celebration of her return to good health.  And to raise some funds to help find a cure for blood cancers.

I missed the festivities of kick-off last week... today is my first official training run of the season, and of course it falls on the holiday weekend, so we're running on our own. After a week of steamy hot weather, the temperatures plummeted last night... so it will be a lovely cool morning to get out with my dog for a slow and easy 3 miler.

140 days til race day...  thanks for joining me on the journey.

If you're able, please consider making a donation to support the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and help to find an end to blood cancers.